Meetings have earned a notorious reputation of time-wasters. They are said to be the most despised area of our business lives. Bad meetings are often the catalyst for negative emotions and misunderstanding in teams. As work has become hugely dependent on teamwork, hence the number of meetings is likely to increase rather than drop. So meetings are here to stay, as lots of companies are actually team-based, and in such firms most work gets done in meetings.
The undeniable power of online meeting systems can surely transform meetings into less tedious, more focus-oriented and pleasant, creative sessions. Most meeting minutes tools may ambush you with their astronomical prices. However, there are great free alternatives, like Rainbow Agenda, for instance.
Below we present you with 5 foes of productive meetings and 5 ways to turn them into friends.
Foe 1: Negligence.
How many times has it happened to you to put aside an hour to prepare for your weekly team meeting? Employees just do not take meetings seriously. Yes, we all know time is money, however, late arrivals or early meeting leaving are often occurrences.
Friend 1: There should be a shared team perspective that meetings are actual work. Adjusting the team’s mind-set to work mode, rather than a chit-chat mode is imperative to the success of your business meeting. To start with – prepare an agenda, determine roles, stay on focus and set small pre-meeting tasks for each member. Rainbow Agenda sends out invites and manages the agenda items to be discussed.
Foe 2: Meeting length.
Unproductive meetings tend to prolong the agony. Once trapped in the vicious circle of wandering, it is difficult to get out of it and get back on track to the end goal.
Friend 2: The natural solution here is to accomplish twice as much in just half the time. But how? Simply switch to online minute-tracking. They are said to increase the productivity levels, as team members are aware of the time spent. Another reason is that tool-supported meetings tend to be less repetitive or redundant.
Foe 3: Absent-mindedness.
Starting a meeting with the usual polite lines and icebreakers is OK. But digressing throughout the meeting is not. People have the tendency to wander off the topic. Conversation flows, and meeting participants are not robots – they want to express their opinions, frustrations or just crack a joke at times. And this is fine, as long as there is an agenda that stays in front of each team member so that the next item to discuss does not slip away unnoticed.
Friend 3: Agendas are worth paying attention to. Rainbow Agenda lists the meeting’s items, as well as who will lead which parts of the discussion, and it provides note taking space – real time. It also specifies the meeting’s decision-making style – is it a to-do, or an idea to further expand upon – it all gets documented.
Foe 4: No follow up.
The meeting has ended. Now what? Meeting participants rarely convert discussed decisions into actions. Thus the meeting end is somewhat foggy.
Friend 4: The counter-reaction to the unclear, foggy-like meeting end is… the bright-sunshine ending that throws light on what happens next. Actionable steps should be agreed upon during the meeting: technology steps in here. Rainbow Agenda lets you record comments, describe ideas and label next steps in real-time. It is not just about having this meeting somewhere in the calendar – it is also about coming out of the meeting with a document to refer to after the meeting. All comments, questions and insights should be written and this is the mission of the team during the session.
Online meeting minutes system create behaviours conditioned by this tool. In other words, the meeting depends on the medium. If the medium prompts you to stay concentrated and delegate tasks – you will be guided by the tool’s functionalities.
Foe 5: Zero change.
Meetings stay unchanged. Same mistakes, same conversation patterns and sadly: the same foggy outcome.
Friend 5: Practice makes perfect. Meetings depend on the participants. They must monitor and assess what works and what is more of a productivity obstacle. Team members should be accountable so they feel engaged.
Choose the most observant person from the team and appoint them to gauge the meeting quality and play the role of a moderator. They should note down what went wrong and what needs changing.